Don't think I'm not aware of what's taking place on the other side of this computer screen. I sense your doubting thoughts; I see your mocking smile. But trust me: he's just a foster dog. And for the record, it's not like we go out looking for these animals. It's been like this for as long as I can remember. Call it a Lindsley thing: we don't find stray animals. They find us.
Like Lady, who ran out in front of the family car on Halloween night 2008. Or Rocky the boxer, who wandered into our front yard as my younger son and I were walking home from preschool. Or Bandit the dog who we inherited from an animal rescue - in 1999. Or Sydney our cat, who camped out one spring morning in a box in my front yard many years ago. I thought I was breaking the cycle when I talked my then-girlfriend into taking the cat. Which she did. And then I married that girlfriend. So I got the cat back. Darn thing found me twice.
And yes, I'm aware that still having these animals in our possession does not exactly support my "foster pet" claim. I'll grant you that. But I'm telling you, it's different this time. Thor - as the animal shelter in Virginia took to calling him - will seriously be a foster dog, no question about it. He will have a permanent happy home, but it won't be with us.
I will say, though, that Thor took this "finding a sucker" thing to a whole new level. Apparently "running in front of the car" or "wandering into the front yard" is so five years ago. Who would've thought that a pup, mere weeks old, would be that social-media savvy. That's where Thor found us - on Facebook. Apparently he used his indelible puppy cuteness to wield control over a Facebook acquaintance of my wife's, compelling her to post his picture in her timeline with the explanation: At the Patrick County Animal Shelter. Needs a good home.
The pup's face bore a striking resemblance to a Golden Retriever my wife lost a few years ago; a beloved companion she acquired fresh out of law school. My wife may not be practicing law anymore, but she still knows how to win an argument. Actually, she knows how to win an argument without actually having the argument, which is a brilliant skill. The way she started talking with me about the whole thing, it was as if the decision had been agreed to in a previous conversation, and I'd just completely forgotten about it. Maybe that was it. Or maybe I just didn't care to put up a fight.
He bites like crazy, the animal shelter told her. That's why no one wants to adopt him. Apparently both the shelter and potential owners had missed the memo about young pups biting things. But that's okay. My wife hails from a long line of dog whisperers and would break Thor from his gnawing ways. You know, so his next and permanent owner wouldn't have to deal with the bloody aftermath. Because Thor would be just a foster dog, mind you.
And so there I was, driving up to Stuart, VA to pick Thor up on Monday afternoon, so he'd be there when the rest of the family got home from school. Was I excited? Sure I was. This would be the luckiest dog in the world, along with those other lucky foster pets of ours, Rocky and Bandit and Lady and Sydney. The vet handed him to me with a bag full of medicine and a paper about his neutering surgery the week prior; I handed them the homemade chocolate chip cookies my wife made them. On the car trip home I was pleased to learn first-hand that Thor's bodily functions worked properly, even if it meant driving the majority of the trip with the windows rolled down on a January day and a bottle of hand sanitizer within reach.
Thor hit the North Carolina ground running, quite literally, thanks to two energetic boys who were totally excited to play with their new puppy they wouldn't be keeping permanently. He did his biting thing, but he wasn't nearly the beast he'd been made out to be. His presence was met with tremendous intrigue and more than a hint of jealousy from the other foster dogs permanently residing at the Lindsley Inn. Especially Rocky, the "top dog" who is used to having the house interior all to himself. We'll have to work on that. Anyway, when Thor finally crawled into his crate for the night, he barely made it all the way inside before collapsing from exhaustion. It was a good day for the little fella. These pets know what they're doing when they pick us Lindsleys.
If you're interested in adopting Thor, get in line. My wife already has a list of folks who've expressed interest, and she's going to be picky. Which she should be, because Thor is an awesome dog. If we didn't have three already, we'd probably keep him for ourselves. But we won't be doing that, you understand. He's a great dog, but he's just a foster dog. Seriously, that's all he is.
UPDATE 2.13.2013 - As of this afternoon, Thor is with his new adopted family. They're from Winston-Salem - three kids ages 4-12, and a Golden Retriever named Jake. You can read all about it HERE. Thanks to Regina Edwards and the fine folks at Surry Animal Rescue for connecting us with some great people.